Prospective cop regarded as “paranoid” and “irrational”

A would-be police officer sued the city of Bridgeport, Conn., contending that the police chief had described her behavior as “irrational, irate, and uncooperative as well as paranoid,” which she said should trigger the provision of the Americans with Disabilities Act protecting persons “regarded as” disabled, in this case psychologically disabled. She lost when a court — applying the law as it stood at the time of her termination in mid-2008, before Congress expanded it — deemed the chief’s alleged comments to be colloquial rather than an attempt at a clinical evaluation. As the court noted, however, since 2008 the ADA Amendments Act (ADAAA) has greatly liberalized the definition of what counts as being “regarded as” disabled — which means her case might have a better chance if it arose today. [Daniel Schwartz]


  • In a rational society, being “paranoid and irrational” would disqualify a person from being a police officer. Now it appears, under the expanded ADA, that possessing those qualities will protect them from being removed from their jobs.

  • Actually, being diagnosed as (or the standard might be in patient treatment for) having mental illness is a disqualifier for owning or possessing firearms, a necessary condition to be a law enforcement officer in these United States.

  • N0 Name Guy – Actually the standard is having been involuntary ordered to treatment by a court.

  • Thanks for the cite, Walter. It’ll be interesting to see how cases under the ADAAA develop and whether courts will still use a bit of common sense in interpreting it.